How a 9-Year-Old Girl's Food Blog Forced Healthier Lunch Options
Martha Payne is a 9-year-old Scottish girl with a taste for good, healthy food. Unfortunately, like so many other children, Payne attends a school that was far less interested than she in what it was feeding her and her classmates each day. Education is a difficult industry, and when it comes to deciding how to spend time and money, food is often low on the list of priorities for administrators. Payne was fed up with meals that at best, weren't nutritious and, at worst, were peppered with stray hairs that weren't hers. That's when she started her blog.
While it's derided by some as a safe haven for bitter layabouts raging in their parents' basement, blogging can actually be a very effective form of protest, and Payne is a perfect example. At the beginning of May, she started NeverSeconds, a food blog dedicated to rating the health and value of her school lunches every weekday. Though it hasn't even been around for a full month, NeverSeconds has already garnered a global readership—kids from as far as Taiwan and the United States are now sending in photos and descriptions of their lunches—and forced the hands of school officials in the process.
Only two weeks after she began posting on NeverSeconds, Payne reported that her father met with the school board, which told him it was instituting some changes to the school lunch program. One of those changes allows children to have unlimited servings of salad, fruit, and bread, which could help some children get full without having to resort to, say, the mini-pizzas or cheeseburgers also on offer.
To help say thanks for Payne's hard work, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has for years crusaded for healthier school lunches, sent her a signed copy of one of his books inscribing it, "Keep it up!" "I do intend to keep it up!" the girl responded on her blog.
Never underestimate the power of a blog and a hungry 9-year-old girl.
Photo via Martha Payne